So you’re ready to get healthier and lose that weight that has been hanging on for far too long. While diet plays a big role in your weight loss success, part of it also comes from exercising and adopting a regular fitness routine that you enjoy and can stick with. If you’re looking for something new, why not give running a try. Here’s some tips on how to stick to your running plan and train happily and injury free!
Schedule in your run time – Have a set time to run every day so you can schedule it in and make it a priority. Mark it on the calendar, set your phone alarm, do whatever you have to do to make sure it gets done. I always do my run first thing in the morning because then I know it is done and there’s no opportunity for it to get pushed aside later. Don’t think you have enough time? Do it on your lunch break at work, or squeeze in two fifteen minute workout sessions to give you 30 minutes of exercise for the day. Just as long as you do something, you are further ahead than doing nothing at all!
Start Slow – Don’t get discouraged if it is really hard in the beginning and you feel like you can’t even breathe after 20 seconds. Start slow, progressing at your own pace and not doing too much too fast too soon - you will put yourself at risk for injury and burn out before you even make any progress. Instead, celebrate each milestone as you improve and get faster and more fit and give yourself a pat on the back. It will start slow, but once you get the hang of it and increase your fitness level, you will see it continue to progress quicker.
Join a group or find a running buddy - There’s nothing like making you stick to your run routine when you know somebody else is counting on you to show up for a run. Joining a group or having a running buddy makes you accountable to somebody else to get your run in, and sometimes that’s the best motivation of all. Whether it is just you and a friends or an organized weekly group at your local running store, find one that works for you and embrace the running community!
Cross train – It is important to add variety to your workouts and fitness routine, to prevent injury and to make sure you don’t get bored and lose motivation. Along with your running, add in core and strength workouts 2-3 times per week and make sure you have at least one rest day from running. If you find yourself getting tired of running and losing your drive, switch it up and try spinning, or other cardio options so you aren’t tempted to completely quit altogether!
Fuel yourself properly – It’s important to understand the difference between fuelling properly and fuelling enough. If you are just running low mileage (i.e. 5 km or less per day), then you won’t need significantly more calories than what you are already consuming in terms of refuel, especially if you are trying to lose weight. What you do need to make sure of though, is that the calories you do consume are filled with adequate protein and healthy fats to refuel and rebuild from your running. Failure to do so will leave you sore, tired and sluggish, making you feel low in energy and wanting to eat more and exercise less. Evaluate your diet and adjust it accordingly.
Set a Challenge – Do you want to run a race? Reach a certain distance? Finish in a certain time? Set yourself a challenge and a completion date and get started. It gives you something to work towards, helps you see success and measure your progress, and in the end you have something you have achieved for all your hard work. Plus you might even get a race medal to prove it!
Run your Run – Don’t get stuck in the trap of comparing yourself to others and then feeling like you aren’t fast enough, strong enough, good enough. If you are out there running, you’re a runner and if you are doing it for yourself (as you hopefully should be), then the only run you have to run is your own. Don’t worry about people going faster, farther, longer. Your own run is the only one you need to worry about and if you are doing your best, than that’s all that matters!